GDB 18.0: MORNING MADNESS

Jason Gregor
November 09 2013 09:06AM

Yesterday at 4:45 p.m. news broke that the Oilers had traded Ladislav Smid to Calgary, and a half hour later the Ilya Bryzgalov signing became official. Some wondered if the two deals were connected. I believe they were, but not just for financial reasons.

Trading Smid freed up $2.786 million in cap space for the remainder of the season, and $3.5 mill cap hit for the following three years, while Ilya Bryzgalov was signed for $1.75 million, which starting today is $1.393 million in actual cap space. The Oilers could have signed Bryzgalov to that deal without moving Smid; however, I do see a connection between the moves.

The Oilers aren't making the playoffs this season. The coaches and players won't think that way, as they should, but in making these moves I believe Craig MacTavish recognizes the disappointing reality that the Oilers are already 12 points out of a playoff spot.

I expect the Oilers to be better in their final 65 games, but they won't go 38-17-6 in their final 65 (which would give them 92 points).

An hour after making the deal, MacTavish stated that he felt the Oilers had more depth on the blueline, and he expected Oscar Klefbom or Darnell Nurse to be two possibilities to replace Smid's size. Klefbom is 6'3" while Nurse is 6'4", but neither will replace Smid right now. Both of them will push for a roster spot next season, although Klefbom likely will get some games near the end of this season.

MacTavish made this move with the long-term future in mind, more than the short term, and I believe the Bryzgalov move was also made with the bigger picture in mind.

MacTavish is hoping Bryzgalov can come in and either out perform Devan Dubnyk, or push him to play better. That helps right now, but more importantly he needs solid goaltending so his players can taste some success. I don't see the Bryzgalov signing as a big risk. He can't be worse than what they have, and despite some of his past comments, I doubt he will be a bad influence in the dressing room.

The Oilers are finally starting to get comfortable with Dallas Eakins system, and if they can get some victories they are more likely to buy in even more and should enter next season more comfortable in their overall game. For that to happen they need better goaltending.

The Oilers outplayed Tampa Bay on Thursday, one of the better teams in the league, but they lost. We all saw the need to try and improve the goaltending right away, but I feel that MacTavish also did it with an eye on next season.

Eakins isn't getting fired, and next year will be the first time in four seasons that the Oilers won't have to learn a new system. They will enter a season with some actual continuity and understanding of their system. They won't need 10, 15 or 50 games to get comfortable with their new coach.

The Oilers need to have a strong second half. They will get more comfortable in the system, and if they can win some games down the stretch, at least they will end the season with some confidence.

These trades were about the big picture, and the Smid move also gave MacTavish some cap flexibility so he can make even more moves leading up to the trade deadline.

SMID TRADE...

The Oilers lose this trade today; because Roman Horak and Laurent Brossoit are both prospects and there is no guarantee either one of them will ever play. They won't help the Oilers today. It is fair to question why MacTavish made the move, but I believe he made it to get some cap flexibility short term and long term, and he felt Smid was expendable.

Smid was their best shot blocker and most physical defender. He will be missed. Despite his offensive shortcomings, no one ever questioned his willingness and desire. He competed, and he was sick of losing. He was well-liked in the dressing room, and he really enjoyed living in Edmonton. I know being a good guy off the ice, doesn't always coincide with victories on the ice, but the community will miss him. I

On a personal note, I enjoyed interacting with Smid. He was always throwing out barbs and chirps. He would chirp anyone and he was always smiling, even when he was pissed off. A part of me feels bad for Smid, because he is leaving one rebuild for another. I don't see him racking up a lot of wins in Calgary and being on a losing team for that long must start to wear on a guy.

At the same time I don't think Smid's departure is a major blow to the Oilers. They will miss his competitiveness and shot-blocking abilities, but Andrew Ference plays the same game, and if Klefbom is ready next season he has more overall upside.

I also don't think Taylor Fedun's play led to the Smid trade. Craig MacTavish said he had been discussing this deal with the Flames for a few weeks. Smid's puck moving ability was a concern for the team, especially in Dallas Eakins' new system.

TODAY'S GAME....

The Oilers and Flyers are the poster boys for underachieving so far this season. The Oilers sit in the basement of the western conference, while the Flyers are a disappointing 2nd last in the east. The Flyers only have nine points.

Claude Giroux has 0 goals in 15 games. Scott Hartnell has 1 point in 11 games. Wayne Simmonds and Jacob Voracek each have 1 goal in 15 games.

Giroux had 41 goals and 140 points in his previous 125 games.
Hartnell had 45 goals and 75 points in his previous 114 games.
Simmonds had 43 goals and 81 points in his previous 127 games.
Voracek had 40 goals and 85 points in his previous 126 games.

The Flyers are struggling because their best forwards can't produce.

Flyers analyst Steve Coates told me yesterday that the Flyers are an extremely fragile team right now. When something goes wrong in a game they unravel, and they haven't been able to overcome adversity.

Despite below average goaltending and some five-star giveaways the Oilers haven't folded their tents, except for the brutal Detroit game, so far this season. The Oilers have at least battled throughout the majority of their games.

The Oilers need to attack the Flyers right away. Score first and see if the Flyers will wilt. Eventually Giroux, Hartnell, Simmonds and Voracek are going to start scoring, the Oilers have to try and delay that inevitability for at least one more game.

LINEUP...

Perron-Nugent-Hopkins-Eberle
Hall-Gagner-Hemsky
Joensuu-Gordon-Arcobello
Gazdic-Smyth-Yakupov

The fourth line could also include Ryan Jones or Wil Acton. Those players rotated in and out during yesterday's practice.

David Perron and Jesse Joensuu will return to the lineup, and the Oilers will dress their healthiest forward group of the season. If you switched Yakupov for Arcobello, the top three lines would be what most projected them to be, but Arcobello has earned the right to stay in the top-nine.

If the Oilers can stay healthy, Eakins will finally have the option to move guys in and out, or up and down the lineup based on performance.

Ference-Petry
Belov-Larsen
N.Schultz-Fedun

Dubnyk

The D pairs could also change with Anton Belov replacing Smid. The Oilers backend isn't very big or physical, but the Oilers feel they can move the puck quickly, and that should allow their fast, skilled forwards to generate offence.

MORNING GLORY....

GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Flyers and Oilers will each get a point. This one ends in a SO, and the Oilers get the bonus point in a 4-3 win.

OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Wanye and many others miss the first period. Wanye slept in because he spent three hours talking to babes on line after returning home from the bar. Unlike Chip from Napolean Dynamite, none of Wanye's babes lived in the same country, however, so there will be no nuptials in his immediate future. But he will SQUEEEEEEEE when Eberle scores in the 2nd period.

NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Fedun scores for the third consecutive game. His comeback story just gets better and better as he becomes the first D-man in the expansion era to score a goal in his first three NHL games. Fedun was the first D-man to score in his first two games since, Marcus Ragnarsson in 1995/1996. (Thanks to Elias Sports Bureau for getting me that answer.)

RECENTLY BY JASON GREGOR 

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#1 Chris.
November 09 2013, 03:33PM
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Today I could not force myself to watch the game all the way through without using the fast forward. I keep selling more and more of my seasons tickets to total strangers. I no longer visit Oilersnation, Copper and Blue, Lowetide, Black Dog, MC79, Cult Of Hockey, Hockey Buzz, or the Oilogosphere on a daily basis. I now rarely comment on any of the content written. (Once a favorite past time of mine) I'm listening to more and more music on the radio. I haven't bothered to watch the first episode of Oil Change Season 4 because I no longer care to have a behind the scenes look at yet another coaching change, high draft selection, and rhetoric filled training camp...

Honest reader; before you hit Trash it; please understand that I didn't jump off the bandwagon... The bandwagon itself has finally disintegrated to the point that I, like many others, have been unwillingly thrown clear; left standing on the side of the road, badly wounded, unable to help those still trapped on the smoldering wreckage as it wildly plummets toward certain disaster.

I think I'll take up jogging.

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#2 Mike Krushelnyski
November 09 2013, 11:44AM
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Spaz wrote:

Can we rename the team to the Edmonton Slumpbusters?

Our logo could be a slutty fat chick

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#3 Soccer Steve
November 09 2013, 09:45AM
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@Spydyr

"Yet another mistake in a very long series of mistakes." Such as?

MacT trading a soon-to-be albatross contract in Smid. *Fixed*

MPS for Perron. *Highway Robbery*

The Contract (+Horcoff) for Larsen. *Fixed*

Boyd Gordon.

I like MacT so far.

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#4 Bob
November 09 2013, 01:44PM
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Spaz wrote:

Why does trading Hall for a Norris winner make you an idiot?

lets see what other people think. props if you would trade Hall for Subban. Trash if you wouldn't

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#5 Bucknuck
November 09 2013, 01:40PM
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and to think I had been defending Dubnyk all bloody summer. He sucks. He just really sucks. He is a big bag of Suck. I'm so mad at his level of suckiness. I can't even describe his suck it sucks so bad.

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#6 Dave
November 09 2013, 09:22AM
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Would Arcobello better at center than Gagner for the game tonight?

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#7 cubsfan
November 09 2013, 02:37PM
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Sammy wrote:

C'mon Oilers have only lost 12 games out of 18. Kevin Lowe does know winning

KLowe has won more rings than the Oilers have won games....cut him some slack

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#8 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 02:40PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

Stauffer was calling this game a "must win" after last game & during his Propaganda show yesterday, I wonder how he's going to spin this?

Not much left to say after all you fine folk, just a couple things, your down a goal and you have Gordon, Smyth & Larssen out there?

PP sucks & PK is brutal....this is on the coach's, the flat play, on the coach's and players.

I'm not sure what made Eakins a better candidate then the coach in OKC but........well there you have it.

Can they send Eakins down to OKC and recall Nelson?

Eakins looks like he could use a bit more seasoning in the AHL.

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#9 Hemmercules
November 09 2013, 09:42AM
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Spydyr wrote:

The time for "magic beans" has passed.How about trading for actual NHL players.

Don't you ever get tired of constantly complaining about everything?

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#10 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 09:26AM
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OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: An Oiler takes a cheap shot.All the other players on the ice check to make sure their skates are tied.

Dubnyk manages to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.Letting in yet another weak goal.

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#11 FireKLowe
November 09 2013, 02:42PM
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Next home game can all the "tier 1" fans please chant "Kevin Lowe must go" all game long? If that doesn't get idiot katz's attention I don't know what will!

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#12 NorthernPride
November 09 2013, 02:55PM
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I live up in High Level, AB. 800 km north of Edmonton. I try to make the drive down to Edmonton at least once a year to see an Oilers game. But not this year. I'm not spending $200 on ticket and driving 8 hours to watch this garbage. Now if the people of Edmonton would do the same for a bit and boycott this crap. Maybe 6 rings would get fired "if there's ever a concern" haha. I'm done ranting for today.

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#13 Rustyknuckles
November 09 2013, 09:23AM
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Ironic that Smid was the player saying if the team didn't start performing someone was going to get traded. I wish him all the best, it's really to bad he had to go to Calgary though.. Now I have to hate him!

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#14 Frank
November 09 2013, 02:02PM
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This team has Kevin Lowe's fingerprint all over it.

Well done Kevin, imagine if you had 7 rings how well Edmonton would do.

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#15 Joe
November 09 2013, 01:59PM
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I wonder if Edmonton Oilers could beat a good AHL team

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#16 NorthernPride
November 09 2013, 02:47PM
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The sad thing is I don't even get mad watching Oilers games anymore. I used to get hot-faced pissed! But now it's just expected. Now I just get a little sad.

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#17 oilerjed
November 09 2013, 10:13AM
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Spydyr wrote:

MacT trading what little toughness he had on the back end in Smid for magic beans.If they wanted Brossoit the should of drafted him.I was hoping they would. Mistake.

Not signing a legit goalie to push Dubnyk .Mistake.

Not getting a legit number two centre.Mistake

Signing Hemsky for five million mistake

Signing Grebs. Mistake.

I could keep going on but I will stop with.The press conference to remove all doubt the team is run by morons.Mistake.

Spyder, why don't you put your money where your mouth is and go get yourself management job with some junior B club. Honestly you are offering nothing but "I said this before, they should have done this....Blah blah blah. You have it in your head that you know more about the NHL then those that have spent the last 30 years INSIDE it. Give it a break. There is a slight chance that you don't have all of the information right? Have all the moves been perfect, you dont have to like them but put your ego down and go back to offering something useful to the conversation

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#18 Hemmercules
November 09 2013, 10:19AM
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Spydyr wrote:

MacT trading what little toughness he had on the back end in Smid for magic beans.If they wanted Brossoit the should of drafted him.I was hoping they would. Mistake.

Not signing a legit goalie to push Dubnyk .Mistake.

Not getting a legit number two centre.Mistake

Signing Hemsky for five million mistake

Signing Grebs. Mistake.

I could keep going on but I will stop with.The press conference to remove all doubt the team is run by morons.Mistake.

Mact actively tried to land a goalie this summer and decided to wait 17 games before signing the only one available for reasonable money/assets.

No one expected Gagner to get a broken jaw. Kinda hard to just grab a number 2 centre at the last minute. And I'm not suggesting Gagner is quite fit to be a centre, I never really thought he was great at centre as many others don't but that's the path the oilers are taking with him.

Tambo signed hemmer. Mact actively shopped him and eventually gave up because there were no takers. Now he's apparently shopping him again.

Grebs. You got me there. Brutal move but fairly low risk

As much as losing sucks the reality is Mact has been gm for a short period. Making changes takes time and effort. GM of the oilers may be one the the hardest GM positions in professional sports.

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#19 Spaz
November 09 2013, 01:59PM
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@Reg Dunlop

Khabibulin shuts out the oilers.

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#20 Sammy
November 09 2013, 02:12PM
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C'mon Oilers have only lost 12 games out of 18. Kevin Lowe does know winning

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#21 Jackson
November 09 2013, 02:23PM
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Was Kevin Lowe an affirmative action hire by the Oilers?

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#22 Gerald
November 09 2013, 03:24PM
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I think the Oilers should trade for Smid. Perhaps Gagner or draft picks

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#23 Reality Check to the head
November 09 2013, 09:25AM
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Game Day prediction: Oiler Fans continue to be frustrated by: 1) Morning Games on a Saturday 2) Ineffective goal-tending and 3) Waiting for a deal that is bold

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#24 GTL
November 09 2013, 09:37AM
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Meh.... Oilers are slump busters ... Giroux scores today

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#25 Smokey
November 09 2013, 11:02AM
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With no realistic shot of making the playoffs bringing Bryz at the expense of laying Smid on the sacrificial alter shows that these clowns are not cut out for the job. Not only did they do the dirty dead, they gave a useful player to their arch nemesis Burke and the Flames. Burke has picked the pocket of many GM's for years. I think Feaster is one of the 3 worse GM's in the league and Burke is a giant blowhard, but top marks to them. We got bent over, fleeced, and laughed at on this one. The fat kid Nelson from the Simpson's is going HAHA!

The next five years maybe longer we Oilers fans will be roasted over this one. This is a trade that makes no sense. The only way you can save face is if Space Cadet goes unconscious and rolls this team into the dance. Otherwise this management group has shown some of the worst asset management we have ever seen.

Smid was worth a whole lot more then one tweener and a goalie prospect who may not be better then the one we gave up. How many more Rajala's, Hartikainen's, Souray's are we going to flush. Would not have to draft so high every year if you could manage prospects, and assets.

I got no beef with trading Smid. Bryz is not getting us anywhere, and not getting at minimum a roster player who we need, or can contribute is inexcusable because the goalie we have signed is barely an upgrade. Horak is a tweener, maybe he can slot in to 4rth line center. If anyone thinks Bryz can stop point blank shots off turnovers, and massive overplays created by the poorly coached team your completely and utterly insane. Philly been aweful defensively and when Bryz was not in a system that utilizes the trap, sound defensive zone coverage he will be exposed just like Philly who needed more then a big puck blocker. I'd rather get a return like the Sharks got for Murray who advanced scouting said was finished, which was two seconds. Now we have 2 extra contracts, a Russian Cosmonaut, and a continued bad cap situation we can now also be the brunt of all jokes in the NHL.. MacT inexperience at its finest. Can we get Charles Wong to buy the team, and sign Garth Snow assistant.

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#26 BingBong
November 09 2013, 02:55PM
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Didn't watch the game. But I knew - KNEW - Giroux would score.

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#27 BorjeSalming-IanTurnbull
November 09 2013, 09:31AM
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Smid without the puck was poetry in motion. Smid with the puck? Flipping the puck up the glass doesn't work in todays game. When you watch the better teams the defence puck movement is creative and usually against the flow of play. The way Smid moved the puck was almost a turnover every time he moved it. A great soldier but becoming a dinosaur in todays game. Good luck Ladislav

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#28 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 09:34AM
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Soccer Steve wrote:

Smid trade = 1 step back, 2 steps forward. I hope there are more of these.

The time for "magic beans" has passed.How about trading for actual NHL players.

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#29 Eddie Shore
November 09 2013, 10:06AM
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@Spydyr

I dont know who is worse, you or Serious Gord... Do you not get tired of saying the same things over and over and over?

MacT should have just called you for your advice in the summer and we wouldn't be in this mess. Or, Dubnyk could have made some saves in October.

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#30 Bryzarro World
November 09 2013, 10:18AM
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In his first game Bryz will pitch a 42 save performance and yak will score a hatty. While celebrating his third goal Bryz will grab him and tell him to "chill because three goal is nothing compared to the universe". Yak's mind will be blown to the point where he gives up hockey and pursues a degree in 18th century Belgium lesbian studies

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#31 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
November 09 2013, 01:19PM
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Arcobello playing miles ahead of Sam Gagner at this point in time.....setting up plays...delivering BIG hits....

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#32 Alsker
November 09 2013, 01:59PM
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Spaz wrote:

The saddest thing about this game was that the game after MacT sells off Smid to get a replacement for DD that's the performance we get. Devan your job is on the line and you give up 4 goals on the lowest scoring offense in the league. BOLD STATEMENT.

^this

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#33 Walter Sobchak
November 09 2013, 02:37PM
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Stauffer was calling this game a "must win" after last game & during his Propaganda show yesterday, I wonder how he's going to spin this?

Not much left to say after all you fine folk, just a couple things, your down a goal and you have Gordon, Smyth & Larssen out there?

PP sucks & PK is brutal....this is on the coach's, the flat play, on the coach's and players.

I'm not sure what made Eakins a better candidate then the coach in OKC but........well there you have it.

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#34 Kim
November 09 2013, 10:17AM
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Having no confidence in your goalie kills a team, players believe they cannot win. So I understand their desperate move to get Bryzgalov. Other goalies were probably too high of a price.

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#35 Grant Fuhrer
November 09 2013, 10:25AM
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Last time the Oilers played an afternoon game I ate waffles for breakfast then headed to the CTC to watch them pick up an ugly W against the Sens.

I just made waffles. Here we go...

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#36 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 11:09AM
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Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

MacT trades a guy who was very popular in the dressing room.....message sent.......character of the team should be on display in this game....gut check time!

I sure hope Gagner is really popular in the dressing room.Then maybe the team get a get a number two centre that plays 200 feet.

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#37 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 12:19PM
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Spaz wrote:

Remember when we had great special teams last year? What a joke this team is.

Somewhere Ralph has a sly smile on his face.

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#38 Reg Dunlop
November 09 2013, 01:39PM
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My take on DD today, the 3rd goal was his once per game weak goal. We can not, however, pin this loss on him. This one is on the 10 players that were no-shows, Eberle who is such a cute little fellow but is too small and is weak as a kitten, and Ryan Smyth who should retire.

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#39 NorthernPride
November 09 2013, 02:44PM
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Dubnyk has lost his game. I was on his side but after this game it's clear to me he has lost his game. Short side from 20 feet out at the goal line? Complete garbage Dubby. I hope with all my heart that Bryzgolav comes in with his A game.

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#40 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 02:44PM
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FireKLowe wrote:

Next home game can all the "tier 1" fans please chant "Kevin Lowe must go" all game long? If that doesn't get idiot katz's attention I don't know what will!

Empty seats is what it is going to take.

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#41 Mac962
November 09 2013, 09:22AM
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I am sorry , and i know its going to take more than a minor miracle to make the playoffs however, you need to alter this lineup still, Not giving pieces away but moves still need to be made and i expect some very soon. You do not give up on the season with 65 to play. Play as good as they did against T.Bay and we win this one. If Dubnyk plays even remotely well that is. Personally , i can't wait for Bryz to get in the cage and see what he can do.

Lets roll up the Sleeves boys. Get it done.

4-2 Oil.

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#42 Jay Gray
November 09 2013, 09:23AM
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I totally agree with everything you got here Jason.

The Oilers lineup for today has me excited. Uncle Yessy is back baby, have mercy.

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#43 Rama Lama
November 09 2013, 10:37AM
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I'm a little surprised at myself.........I for one have not missed J.Schultz and hardly noticed that he is MIA.

I'm hoping that it was his injury that made him nearly invisible in his last few games.

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#44 Shooter
November 09 2013, 11:45AM
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Anyone who still believes in the competence of Kevin Lowe and thinks he has a done a good job, please send back your Oiler Fan Membership card immediately.

I've been an Oilers fan my whole life. I grew up in the 80's and boy we were spoiled back then. It pains me to see what Lowe has done to this team. He has been the GM and then president over the last 13 years. Check the stats. This has been a sinking ship for 13 years and the man does not have the skills to fix his mistakes. Yes, he was a proven successful NHL player, with 6 rings I hear. Now he has had long enough to prove that he doesn't know how to run a hockey team.

Please fire Lowe so the fans can start to respect this organization again.

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#45 reaperfunkss (2nd tier fan)
November 09 2013, 11:52AM
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Wasn't mactavish hired to put the Oilers over the top? He said he is impatient and the time to develop is over it is time to start winning. How does this man have a job?. Wether or not Tambo had to go is one thing but Tambo was fired only to give MacT the job.

Since we are pretty much out of the playoffs it has proven that he FAILED! He was going to make it better. Tambo was fired so MacT could look like the hero and has that ever back fired.

The league is laughing at him right now over the bryz signing. DD .847 1st period only but it doesnt build confidence.

LOWE MACT BUCKY SMITH must go. there is no plan they have no real clue and the product shows it.

Go to Hell Katz you rich paternal intercourser. You have intercoursed your fans big time

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#46 Spaz
November 09 2013, 11:57AM
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Any money on Giroux getting his first goal of the sesaon on DD?

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#47 Reg Dunlop
November 09 2013, 01:20PM
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Hall looks like he may have spent last night at the bar.

For anyone thinking that size doesn't matter, watch Eberle. If the smaller player is as committed, is quicker to change direction and is faster from point A to B then size is not relevant. However, big, mean NHLers in today's NHL are just as fast, quick and motivated. This isn't 1980 when slewfoots like Brad Marsh populated rosters. All else being +/- equal size is the determining factor. The oil will remain detritus feeders until more than 1 of the dwarfs are converted into actual men.

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#48 James
November 09 2013, 01:27PM
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Nice give away by Hemmer and Hall on that one. Good grief!

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#49 Bob
November 09 2013, 01:36PM
Trash it!
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Rheal1 wrote:

Taylor hall for PK Subban straight up!!!

your an idiot

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#50 Spydyr
November 09 2013, 01:42PM
Trash it!
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It does not matter if you are 6'6" if your always on your knees.

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